HR professionals may want to focus some of their energy on educating employees about the benefits of taking time away from work as an employee management strategy. For some employees, being able to achieve a good balance between their work lives and their personal lives seems like an impossible dream. Many workers spend too much time in the office or doing work-related tasks when they should be relaxing with their families or concentrating on things that make them personally happy.
A work-life balance may feel like a mythical fantasy to some, but professionals need to remember the professional advantages of being able to turn away from work. According to new research from Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit, Inc. (FSG/WLF), many employees say they don't know how to improve their work-life balance, despite understanding the importance of doing so.
HR professionals should give workers insight into how to be more flexible with their time and to know when it is beneficial to step away from work to ensure employees remain productive. While it may seem like a competitive advantage to work all the time, doing so can actually affect a person's health and overall performance. In fact, taking this approach may show employees their employer does value them having a work-life balance.
A Work-Life Balance is Hard to Achieve
The FSG/WLF survey, which is biennial and was conducted by ORC International, received responses from 556 full-time workers about their workplace flexibility. The survey found employees have to increasingly take time out of their personal lives to devote to finishing their workloads. More than half of staff members (62 percent) said they encounter numerous challenges to achieving harmony between their work and personal lives. Large workloads was a major factor for some, with 37 percent saying they had bigger workloads last year compared to only 29 percent saying the same in 2011. In fact, 4 in 10 said their employers aren't as focused on staff having a work-life balance as they were in the past.
However, a larger number understand the importance of having a balance between their two lives than during the last survey. Eighty-five percent said they think workers' loyalty, performance and health drop when they don't achieve a work-life balance, while only 66 percent said they thought it did in 2011.
Encourage Employees to Reconcile Their Two Lives
Workers often require support from their HR departments and supervisors to take more time for their personal lives. Workplace culture can dictate employees' feelings about the importance of having a flexible and balanced life, and HR professionals may want to start adjusting how the company culture impacts workers' beliefs about this critical aspect of their lives. Many office cultures consider strong work ethic to be tied to how often people are in the office and are working. However, redefining what it means to be successful at the company may be part of HR professionals' employee management strategies, according to Fast Company.